Scott Sanderson, Conservation Law Foundation (at left), and State Rep. Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (D) spoke about the newly introduced H-0706, a proposed bill relating to banning the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in Vermont.
VBA Past President, Andrew Munkres, explained the difference between acute and sublethal exposures to pesticides and then went on to present a great deal of data on the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) on honey bees at very low, sublethal concentrations. It is now well established by research that very low exposure to most neonic insecticides, greatly reduces queen laying productivity and increases the colony dwindling rate (die-off over time) potentially leading to colonies too small to survive winter. Such sublethal exposures also reduce the ability of honey bees to fend off diseases and cause several other serious adverse physiological impacts.
Dr. Samatha Alger, UVM, and the Vermont Bee Lab presented a summary of the results of our 2022 and 2023 pollen sample testing for pesticides. A wide range of pesticides including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and synergists has been found in a large number of the Vermont samples collected. These pesticide "hits" are largely found in apiaries within 1-2 miles of agricultural row crops like field corn and soybeans. Neonicotinoid exposure was greatest during spring crop planting.